by: James Mays
Ford-Monarch dealers offered Ford trucks to consumers throughout the Dominion of Canada. Across town Lincoln-Mercury dealers were delighted when the head office in Windsor decided to add Mercury trucks to their inventory in the fall of 1945.
Although the 1946 truck line was clearly badge-engineered from Ford, styling cues were such as to make it immediately distinguishable from its lesser kin. The newcomer brought extra sales to those low-volume dealers who sold the mid-range and luxury divisions of Ford's products.
In 1961 the blue oval truck line was all new. The M-100 series now rode 114 and 122-inch wheelbases. Front ends were squared up for massive look. The look was longer, lower and wider. The windshield no longer wrapped around to the sides. Boxes were fared into the cab's lines on the Styleside models which gave a more car-like appearance. The boys in advertising dubbed the look as "Unitized." Oddly enough, there was enough buyer resistance to the new look that the more traditional Flareside model was continued.
A stronger frame was introduced in 1961. Springs were shot-peened and on four-wheel drive models, lengthened by three inches. Worm and lever steering was replaced by an up-to-date recirculating ball type system. The manual transmission was strengthened and the hydraulic clutch linkage was replaced by one of mechanical design.
This pickup truck unit was built in the fourth week of June 1961. VIN 67174A56610221 indicates it was unit number 171,754 in the production year. Built in Oakville, Ontario, production ran from October 21, 1960 and ended on July 12, 1961. Mercury trucks were not broken out from the Ford line, but a total of 19,564 Ford and Mercury trucks were recorded for the model year run.
This unique M-100 appears to have been a 1962 prototype. Trucks built in the third week of June had the MERCURY name floating in mid-grille but this unit has the name on the valance like the upcoming 1962 models. The 1962 letters did not fit the existing pattern and a complete valance change was required.
When the vehicle was disassembled hand-stamped numbers were discovered and the valance was hand-bent, not punched. Grilles on other trucks built during that week bear the code TRK 62 but are completely different from this one. When it rolled off the line, the 122-inch wheelbased worker was shipped to Brandon, Manitoba where it spent the next thirty years of its life.
Some ten years ago the mighty Merc migrated east to Ontario. It was in good shape and sported very little rust. Today it is owned by Brian and Linda Guttormson of Keswick, Ontario. In the spring of 1999 it was given a complete repaint with acrylic enamels and polished off with clearcoat. The box is finished in 3/4" tongue-and-groove white oak glued to ½" marine plywood.
The wood is protected by seven coats of Flecto clear urethane, each coat hand sanded before application of the next. A white tonneau cover further protects the wood from any inclement weather. Bodywork was completed by Herb's Pug'M and Plug'M Emporium courtesy of Bob (Herb Tarlick) and Ron (Older than dirt).
The interior was freshened by Newt's Detail Shoppe. Paint, headliner, recovered visors, acoustic insulation, new stereo speakers and upholstery to cover the inside fuel tank were cared for here thanks Murry, Bonnie and Misty.
Mechanically there are some exciting transformations. The thrifty six-cylinder that came with the truck is long gone. The current drive line hails from a 1975 Thunderbird, the 460 CID V-8 Interceptor engine is mated to a C-6 transmission which has a shift kit and a Lokar shifter. The 2.73:1 nine-inch rear differential was donated from a '79 Ford truck.
The engine has been rebuilt and now sports an Edelbrock Performer cam, intake and 600 cfm carb setup. Most recently 11-inch diameter Ford disc brake rotors and GM calipers have been installed along with a power booster and a dual master cylinder from a Mustang. These additions make the truck a lot more civilized when it's time to hold those horses.
This well-loved Mercury is spoiled silly in its heated garage. It gets out to shows and annual trips to the IMOA meet. Brain would like to thank Linda for "the many missed hours during the seemingly never-ending restoration procedure." - CTS